The government’s Children and Families Act, which includes legislation for shared parental leave, has received royal assent.
The act includes:
- From April 2015, mothers, fathers and adopters will be able to share parental leave around their child’s birth or placement.
- From 1 October 2014, prospective fathers or a mother’s partner will be able to take time off to attend up to two antenatal appointments.
- Adoption leave and pay will reflect entitlements available to birth parents from April 2015, which includes: no qualifying period for leave; enhanced pay to 90% of salary for the first six weeks; and time off to attend introductory appointments. Intended parents in surrogacy and foster-to-adopt arrangements will also qualify for adoption leave and pay.
- From 30 June 2014, the right to request flexible working will be extended to all employees.
- The current statutory procedure through which employers consider flexible-working requests will be replaced, with a duty on employers to consider requests in a ‘reasonable’ manner.
Jenny Willott, employment relations minister, said: “Current workplace arrangements have not kept up with the times. The Children and Families Act will bring the way new parents balance their working and home lives into the 21st century.
“By enabling any employee to request to work flexibly, we want to remove any cultural assumption that flexible working is only for women, or just for parents and carers.
”We want these reforms to bring about a culture change in Britain’s workplaces, allowing everyone to better balance work with their personal life in the way that works for them.
“The new system is good for business as it will create a more motivated and flexible, talented workforce. Employers will be able to attract and retain women, from the boardroom to the shop floor, and prevent them from dropping out of the world of work once they start a family.
“Flexible working will also help widen the pool of talent in the labour market, helping to drive growth.”